Thursday, July 14, 2005

Good old reliable IBM

In the mid-1980s at IBM I had a fun time for a couple of years supporting the IBM mainframe communications products.

When I recently came across the IBM Communication Controller Migration Guide fond memories came flooding back of numerous IBM hardware and software networking products. Things like SNA, SDLC (this stands for "Synchronous Data Link Communications", not "Software Development Life Cycle" ), VTAM and NCP, APPC (a.k.a LU 6.2), APPN, and many other fantastic networking products.

Five years into the 21st century, some things have changed significantly. You hardly ever hear of SNA any more, but the excellent heritage remains. The synopsis of this Redbook puts it elegantly:

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"IBM communication controllers have reliably carried the bulk of the world's business traffic for more than 25 years. Over the years, IBM controllers have been enhanced to the point that the functional capabilities of the current products, the 3745 Communication Controller and the 3746 Nways Multiprotocol Controller , surpass the capabilities of any other data networking equipment ever developed. Beyond the SNA architecture PU Type 4, beyond APPN, even beyond IP routing, these controllers support an extraordinary set of functions and protocols. Because of their long history and their functional richness, IBM controllers continue to play a critical role in the networks of most of the largest companies in the world.

Over the past decade, however, focus has shifted from SNA networks and applications to TCP/IP and Internet technologies. In some cases, SNA application traffic now runs over IP-based networks using technologies such as TN3270 and Data Link Switching (DLSw). In other cases, applications have been changed, or business processes reengineered, using TCP/IP rather than SNA. Consequently, for some organizations, the network traffic that traverses IBM communication controllers has declined to the point where it is in the organization’s best interest to find functional alternatives for the remaining uses of their controllers so they can consolidate and possibly eliminate controllers from their environments.

This IBM Redbook provides you with a starting point to help in your efforts to optimize your communication controller environment, whether simply consolidating them or migrating from them altogether. We discuss alternative means to provide the communication controller functions that you use or ways to eliminate the need for those functions outright. Where multiple options exist, we discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of each."
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So download your copy of this Redbook today and learn something about this mainstay range of networking products.

IBM Redbooks are developed and published by IBM's International Technical Support Organization, the ITSO. All are available as free PDF downloads, and you can register on the mailing list for the Redbooks weekly newsletter and of course there are RSS feeds for IBM Redbooks.

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